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AMAA IS A PAN-AFRICAN REWARD- SYSTEM- PEACE ANYIAM-FIBRESIMA

Source: nigeriafilms.com

Peace Anyiam-Fibresima in the past three years has succeeded in drawing the attention of the world to African movies. The unassuming showbiz imressario is
the brain behind African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) which started in year 2005. Little wonder cable channels like African Magic and others have continued
to be viewed by a large number of people who are not of African descent. AMAA no doubt has continued to improve the notion on the African continent and it has
continued to be a source of challenge to African filmmakers on how to express themselves, while promoting the African heritage. in a brief chat with www.nollywoodgists.com Peace Anyiam-Fibresima speaks on AMAA and what would make the third edition unique.

Excerpts:

NFC: What inspired you to start off the AMAA?
I was inspired by the need to create a reward system for Africans by Africans. We judge ourselves based on our own criteria and our understanding of who we are and what we are. Our rating should not be based on the understanding or notion of another person from a different continent.

NFC:What about the issue of credibility of AMAA?
Obviously, AMAA has been a hard sell but the academy has a set of jurists who watch the movies. With the calibre of jurists who are from different parts of the
world the issues of lack credibility is virtually nil. To buttress what I am saying, the recognition AMAA got this year led to my appointment as a member of jury for the Berlin Films Festival.

NFC:As we look forward to the third edition of AMAA, what has the journey been like?
AMAA is now a Pan-African reward system. Africans look forward to participating in AMAA because not many African films are made. So when you call for a competition you get few responses. And a critical comparison of Nigerian films with those of her neighbours reveals that Nigeria is ahead of other
African countries in movie production. Basically as much as possible we need to encourage movie producers from other parts of the continent to participate in
AMAA

NFC:What makes the year 2007 award and the third edition different from the previous awards?
The 3rd edition has a fifty-thousand dollar prize award for the best movie. I think this is a lot different. What that simply means is that the academy wants to give African movies a chance to evolve. This is why we have a cash award rather than a car or any other prize. African film makers may not necessarily need equipment or a car rather they need the cash because some of them prefer to work on different format of film or may already have their budget. But if you give Nigerian film maker seven million naira he could go ahead to produce his next movie. We also intend to present the films that win for other international films festival. In addition, you would agree with me that AMAA is growing by the year. We have a lot of corporate sponsors and we are expecting over three hundred
guests from Africa. On the issue of space for guests we intend to use the Yenegoa Stadium as viewing centre so that those who don't have access into the venue of the event could watch the event as it goes on in the stadium.

NFC:What has been the most challenging thing about organising AMAA?
The challenging thing about organising AMAA is getting Africans to think Africa. This has been the driving force behind our organising AMAA. Basically, an African producer is expected to make a film that Africans would watch and appreciate. I don't want to make a film that is viewed only in the museum or
embassy. I want to make a film that my people will get to see. This is why I preach that Africa must start and continue to reward Africans who make films that
make the continent proud. Another challenging thing is what the jury go through
to screen the movies. We have some members in Germany and England and I know they are working tirelessly on the movies that have been nominated
It worthy of note that AMAA has not discriminated on what language any nominated film was produced with. The basic questions are; does the movie tell a story? Does it depict the culture of Africans?

NFC:What is the next level for AMAA?
The next level for AMAA is reaching out to the Films Fund which was launched during the year 2006 edition of AMAA. We are actually working on a movie project
entitled “Olotu” with Terilla Thompson which has been funded partially. The movie has a cast of about 4,000 people. It is an Ijaw film on the Niger Delta people and crises. The African Films Fund has partially funded the production of the movie hence we are sourcing for more money to conclude the production of
the movie.

by TAIWO OBATUSIN www.nollywoodgists.com